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Content tagged with "digital divide"Displaying 241 - 250 of 250
Burlington Telecom Partners to Increase Digital Inclusion
On its facebook page, Burlington Telecom has announced a partnership with ReSOURCE, a local nonprofit, that will make refurbished computers available to qualified Burlington families.
Riverside: Municipal Wi-Fi is Alive in California
Riverside, California, an innovative city of 300,000 in the eastern part of Los Angeles has been a broadband pioneer even though it sits in the shadow of tech centers like nearby Santa Barbara. Riverside’s accomplishment as a city catching up with the information age was evident when it was selected as one of the top 7 Intelligent Communities Award in 2011 by New York-based Intelligent Community Forum.
“It’s an honor to be selected as one of the top 7 cities in the world. It comes down to a couple factors, what communities are doing with broadband, but... includes digital inclusion, innovation, knowledge workforce (of folks within your community) and marketing advocacy... We rank very high in all those categories.” - City CIO Steve Reneker [Gigabit Nation Radio]
The cornerstone the city’s SmartRiverside initiative is a free public wireless network which covers 78% of the city’s 86 square miles. Established in 2007 by AT&T (which also offers DSL services in Riverside), the maximum speed of the network is 768kbps, which at just under 1Mbps is decent enough to surf the web and check emails. However the road to providing free Internet access and bridging the digital divide wasn’t so easy for Riverside.
The City issued a RFP in 2006 for a provider to deploy a citywide Wi-Fi network, with the goal of making the Internet accessible to users who can’t afford higher cost plans. The City met with respondents and a speed of 512kbps or about half a megabit was initially quoted as an entry-level speed that would complement existing services rather than compete against them. The contract was awarded to AT&T who hired MetroFi to build the network and charge the city a service cost of about $500,000 a year. MetroFi went bankrupt after completing only 25 square miles and Nokia Siemens took over but only completed up to the present level of coverage.
In 2007, the wifi network launched and began bridging the digital divide. Through the City’s digital inclusion efforts, not only were modest-income families able to obtain low cost or free PCs but also have means to use them with an Internet connection.
Comcast: Internet Access is Temporarily a Civil Right
“Access to the internet is akin to a civil rights issue for the 21st century,” said David Cohen, Comcast’s executive vice president. “It’s that access that enables people in poorer areas to equalize access to a quality education, quality health care and vocational opportunities.”It was only after the federal government mandated a low-cost option for disadvantaged households that Comcast realized everyone could benefit from access to the Internet. Sadly for Comcast, it has done a poor job of reaching those disadvantaged communities, by its own admission:
"Quite frankly, people in lower-income communities, mostly people of color, have such limited access to broadband than people in wealthier communities."This is why so many communities are building their own next-generation networks - they know that these networks are essential for economic development and ensuring everyone has "access to a quality education, quality health care and vocational opportunities." And they know that neither Comcast nor the federal government are going to make the necessary investments. They need a solution for the next 20 years, not just the next 2. Comcast has a de facto monopoly in many communities.
Building an Equity and Justice Movement for Communications
This report is a brief summary of the Knowledge Exchange, written for participants and to share with the field. It reflects the open and frank discussions that took place during the convening, as well as the ease of communication among the group. The words in this report are quoted, paraphrased, and combined from presentation and discussion notes. The document includes ideas raised by individuals as well as collectively agreed-upon points. Overall, the 2010 Knowledge Exchange reflects just one moment in time in the midst of ongoing, overlapping conversations on these issues. This document is one of several publication projects emerging from the 2010 Knowledge Exchange that will be produced by CMJ. Strategy ideas, tools, case studies, and more will be available to our network members online through the MAG-Net website, www.mag-net.org. Facts, statistics, and other data are as of September 2010. For up-to-date media/telecom policy and campaign information, visit www.centerformediajustice.org and www.mag-net.org.
New America Foundation on Community Wireless and Digital Divide
A program from the New America Foundation discussing community wireless (including international perspectives) and the digital divide.
Video streaming by Ustream
DC-Net Expands with Multiple Stimulus Grants
In 2007, DC-NET began with service to 135 sites, a number that has more than doubled to 280, including 140 school buildings alone. The network also provides connectivity for libraries, public hospitals, community centers, and some Wi-Fi networks. DC-NET staff designed, installed, and have maintained the overwhelming majority of the network. As is common with all these networks, some operations are contracted out (e.g. fiberoptic construction and some aspects of maintenance, such as fixing fiber cuts). DC-Net controls the locks and determines who has access to any part of its network, including key electronics on site in the buildings and elsewhere in the network, providing a high level of security. On the critical issue of reliability, DC-NET has proven impressive. The network has more layers of redundancy than one typically finds with a commercial carrier and the uptime shows it. In the first year of operation, it tallied an impressive record – with only four buildings briefly losing their network connection in three events – an average of 15 minutes of interruption per site for the year. This is far better than the industry standard – in DC-NET’s first year of operation. DC-Net is also more responsive to the needs of its subscribers. Though private companies like Verizon may require a month or even two to connect a new subscriber, DC-NET can do it in as quickly as a week to as long as twenty days. As for the services available, DC-NET will provide service from 2 Mbps -1000 Mbps, allowing subscribers far greater freedom to select the speeds they need than commercial providers offer. This publicly owned network saves DC some $5 million/year compared to the costs of duplicating functionality using leased circuits. Even then, it would not be nearly as reliable due to limits in redundancy from leased lines.
Seattle's Chief Geek: Broadband Monopoly Keeps Costs Too High
The City of Seattle – and other cities and counties – can regulate cable TV to a limited extent. Therefore we can demand cable companies provide a low cost basic service – $12.55 in Seattle for Comcast, for example, and there’s even a discount to that low rate for low-income residents – more details here. The State of Washington – and other States – can regulate telephone service, and require telephone companies to provide a low cost basic phone rate, e.g. $8 a month for 167,000 households. But NO ONE regulates broadband/Internet access. Consequently ISPs can charge whatever the market will bear. So in our present monopoly or duopoly environment throughout the nation – that is little choice for most of us – prices are at $30, $40 or more for even moderate speed access. Higher speed access is $100 or more. And that means low-income, immigrant, seniors and other households cannot afford access to the Internet. So they and their children are denied what is probably the most important pathway to education, information, jobs and higher income – access to the Internet. Even middle income households or neighborhood businesses cannot get affordable truly fast (e.g. 5 megabits per second symmetric) broadband.Bill's post is well-linked and worth reading in its entirety.
Muni Fiber in San Francisco Eats into Digital Divide
San Francisco has leveraged its municipally-owned fiber in a program to overcome the digital divide. Projects like this are a good early step for larger communities. First, invest in fiber to public buildings, schools, etc., to cut costs from leased lines (often, while upgrading capacity). Second, begin to leverage that fiber to increase affordable broadband availability in the community. Expand until community needs are met.
Cook Report: Broadband Mapping, Connectivity, the Five Freedoms, and Prosperity
COOK Report: In other words, if a Telco says, “we provide access there” what do the people say about it? Do they have service? Is it available? Can they afford to buy it? Can they use it, and do they use it? Wedeman: That’s why the definition of “under-served” is so important, because a lot of people have construed this to be unique to rural areas. It is clear that in many of these rural locations there is literally nothing. However, what is not so obvious to many is that lots of people in urban areas don’t even have phones, let alone high-speed Internet connections. They may use a pay phone, or a cell phone. Before the mass adoption of cell phones, the only service they had was provided by pay phones.
Five Days on the Digital Dirt Road
InternetforEveryone.org is working to shed light on the millions of Americans who live without regular Internet access or lack the training or equipment to get online. A small reporting team is traveling to communities across the country to tell people's stories. Free Press' Megan Tady interviewed residents of Los Angeles, Calif., and Washington, D.C. On this site, you can follow our trek and get an up-close view of America’s urban digital divide. InternetforEveryone.org is working to shed light on the millions of Americans who live without regular Internet access or lack the training or equipment to get online. A small reporting team is traveling to communities across the country to tell people's stories. Free Press' Megan Tady interviewed residents of Los Angeles, Calif., and Washington, D.C. On this site, you can follow our trek and get an up-close view of America’s urban digital divide.